We are changing. So it makes sense that our relationships are changing too. Perhaps it’s time to reassess what a relationship is and how it works. Maybe it’s time to shift the relationship paradigm. That is, to redefine what a relationship is and what we expect from them. Three years ago, Sally* separated from her husband of 20 years. They share two children. They found it more beneficial to live together, but not be together and it’s working for them.
I once read that there were 48 different types of family structures, so at what point did the nuclear family become the ideal? Of course it would be wonderful if children could grow up in a loving, supportive environment with their biological parents, but the reality is that family is more than just biology. The amazing children that are coming out of gay parentage, divorce and the fact that we don’t even question children of mixed racial heritage anymore is a testament to how far we as a society have changed the paradigm around relationships. It is changing and has been changing for some time now.
For many years I kept looking for the married-with-children-and-living-in-the-suburbs without ever questioning if it was what I wanted. I never asked WHY I wanted this paradigm, I guess I had been sold the perfect family through the media images of love, romance and white picket fences. I suppose also the influence of the Christian beliefs about marriage established many of our traditions that we associate with love and marriage in English-based countries. In many cultures marriage traditionally was seen as contract, often between families over land. In-fact, my marriage in Egypt, I paid for my own dowry! There was still a financial contract and it was lust-driven and animalistic and not conscious in any way.
But now, I look at that ideal I had and think how very droll and boring that must be to be in a life with no challenges, no spiritual growth and just going through the motions! I’m sure that some people experience this paradigm and are very happy with it and I’m more than happy for them, but I’m glad I chose the tough path. I have experienced what I needed to and I’m okay with that. I have experienced an emotionally abusive relationship, I have experienced a heartbreak that I thought that I would die from and I have single-handedly raised three amazing daughters while working, studying and holding myself together – at times not being able to feed us. For all of these experiences, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am stronger. I am powerful and I am a wild woman. I know who I am and what I want now in relationship…and I want a co-consciously created connection with another human being. Perhaps that’s what I’ve always wanted. Jeff Brown says it best when he calls it a Loveship, where there is a “shared willingness to become conscious.”
I think the keys to this new paradigm for me is that a sense that my partner is my best friend who I want to have mind-blowing sex with and touch at every available opportunity! I have called this new paradigm The Relationship Pot and it is a live work in progress for me. The Relationship Pot came about because of the realisation of the importance of each of the individuals in a relationship and what each can bring to and take from the relationship. The basic premise is that there are three relationships in every relationship; the individuals’ relationship with themselves, their passions, dreams and life, the partners’ relationship with themselves, their passions, dreams and life and an acknowledgement of each other’s need for autonomy and nurturing that and the Relationship Pot itself which has an equal amount going in and out of it by each partner.
There is no room in the Relationship Pot for children, families of birth, other people’s opinions about your relationship, careers or money – they are other relationships that the individual (you and your partner) have with others. The Relationship Pot is solely for the two people within the relationship with at its core the soul connection between the partners. It consists of such things as shared interests, honesty, loyalty, absolute trust, communication, caring, unconditional love, attention, affection, sexuality, time (alone time, together time and family time), allowingness and other things that you and your partner negotiate. There will be nothing missing from the relationship. It is all there. Each partner will be allowed autonomy and this is nurtured from each partner and each partner has a freedom within the relationship to be themselves.
We use too many words to describe what is essentially indescribable, at the end of the day we are souls interacting with feeling. I want a relationship that transcends any stereotype or box that we want to classify it into. But that’s the best bit; we can define our relationship however we want. We can live together, or we choose not to, we can get married in the traditional sense, or we may choose not to. Those details are truly insignificant. What is significant is the fact that we connect with each other on all levels, that we give each other space for autonomy and passions/interests, that we come together in love and honour each other’s soul’s development and growth with compassion, patience and support; to be that best friend who is always there, to walk the path together and helping one another to grow and evolve.
The keys to success with the Relationship Pot:
1. Allow each other’s autonomy and celebrate it. If your partner has an interest that doesn’t work for you, by all means have a go, but be honest if it doesn’t work for you. Similarly support their interests, it makes life much more interesting if you are not with each other 24/7.
2. Contribute what you can and value and treasure your partner’s contributions – whatever they are. Gratitude is the key to attracting more of what you want.
3. Focus issues on the Pot, not the other person. That is, address the behaviour or the problem, not the person. If your partner is struggling, be there for them. You don’t have to solve their problems and if they can’t be there for you for whatever reason, be strong enough to rely on yourself and your own divinity, hold strong in who you are.
So, to help you, I’ve put together some questions to help you co-consciously create a relationship for you.
1. Who am I and what are my dreams, passions?
2. What can I contribute to the relationship pot, what skills, qualities do I have?
3. What does my partner contribute and how can I value my partner’s contributions more?
4. What vision do I have for the pot?
5. What dreams do I have that I want to share with my partner?
6. What dreams of his/hers am I willing to share and be part of?
If my partner and I ever choose to have a commitment ceremony as a part of our soul’s growth, this quote by Kahlil Gibran sums up how I feel about relationships in the new paradigm:
“But let there be spaces in your togetherness
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love,
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”
Relationships are not holding onto someone for so long that you suffocate them or you yourself die a little inside by not being authentically you. It’s about appreciation and acceptance. I’ll leave it to Osho to finish:
“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”
In love, as always.
Note: I should trademark “The Relationship Pot”, but the reality is, this was published on August 28, 2015 on alyssacurtayne.com and it was a concept given by spirit, so it belongs to all of us.
©2015 Alyssa Curtayne
Kalamunda naturopath and Kundalini Yoga teacher Andrea Gabriel is one of those women who you just want to emulate; she has a lovely, grounded energy, is gorgeous and a seemingly perfect life. When Andrea invited me to join her Kundalini Yoga class, I admit, I didn’t want to go. I was resisting. I felt hesitant, afraid and to be honest, somewhat afraid that I might walk out on her class like I did the first time I tried it.
The first time I tried Kundalini Yoga, I nearly packed up my mat, never to return. The teacher was amazing, but the venue wasn’t ideal and in all honesty, I protested in my mind about how it WASN’T “real” yoga. In the end I sat in meditation trying to address the massive resistance I was feeling. As an Iyengar, Vinyasa and acro-yoga aficionado, all the breathing and accessories that accompanied Kundalini Yoga stressed me out. It all seemed so…well, contrived. I ended up planning to never do it again. But something in me was fighting. What was this? Why was I resisting? Was it because I was blocking something with myself, or did I genuinely not enjoy this style of yoga? If it was my first ever yoga experience, I probably would have never gone back, but I knew there was something deeper at work.
When many people first start yoga, they are not aware of the abundance of different styles and diversity amongst teachers. It takes a while to find a style that suits you and also a teacher that resonates with you. The first time I walked into Andrea’s beautiful home studio overlooking rolling hills and met her, I knew that she was a teacher I could relate to, but the style, Kundalini Yoga, I was still not sure about.
Kundalini Yoga is a style of yoga that was brought to the U.S. in 1969 by Yogi Bhajan in response to a need he felt in American society. According to Andrea, he was the last in the Golden Chain, a lineage of Yoga Masters who left behind an abundance of great teacher trainers after his death in 2004. Andrea’s own path into Kundalini Yoga is very different from my own. Andrea went through a very “dark” time where she felt out of place and didn’t care whether she lived or died. Following a serious car accident where she walked away with only a scrape to her head did she realise that things needed to change. In seeking healing from her accident, she came across a book: “The Eight Human Talents” by Gurmukh. Everything in the book resonated with Andrea and she started practicing the meditations and practices in it, often in secret, because it seemed so “weird” and not mainstream. Soon her clients noticed a change in her and wanted some of her magic. Before long Andrea had started practicing Kundalini Yoga with small groups and soon was drawn to the teacher training.
Like many people who do yoga teacher training to deepen their own practice with no intention of teaching, Andrea was no different, “what I did was to create a space for sharing with others.” That was six years ago. Now she has a beautiful purpose-built studio adjoining her home and offers classes as an aside to her Naturopathy business. “Kundalini is a spiritual and uplifting yoga, but very grounding,” she said. It is about shifting the energy from the base up rather than being driven by animalistic desires, addictions and survival patterns of living. The mantras are grounding but connect to the greater self, “creating a safe place to practice in.”
Some of my biggest blocks when I went to my first Kundalini Yoga class were the teacher’s head cover and dressed all in white and the rapid and intense breathing that accompanies the movement. I think more than anything, I wanted to understand the logic behind it all. The headpiece is not religious and Andrea explained that it is designed to both keep the bones in the skull in alignment, but also covers the crown chakra, allowing for the spiralling energy experienced in the class to rise up to the crown and instead of being released, returns into the body, building it’s intensity as are the pranayama (breathing). The white clothing is for expansion of the energy into the auric field.
After being a yoga participant for nearly 20 years, I would have to say that this would have to be the most overtly spiritual yoga practice that I’ve come across. It doesn’t hide the energies, or the chakras and isn’t about achieving the pose the best, or wearing the latest pants or accessories that so often accompany yoga these days. There is no room for ego in Kundalini Yoga. “Kundalini is for everybody…Yoga for the most part is quite physical,” but Andrea says this style is a “fast-track to get into spiritual awareness…it’s the energy of the whole experience…it’s a technology, a science that’s proven.”
I won’t deny that I had a very strong resistance to Kundalini Yoga, after all, I’ve had mind-blowing ecstatic orgasms through Kundalini Dance practices with Leyolah (http://www.kundalinidance.com/ref/11/ ), I’ve got plenty of books on Kundalini Shakti and tantric arts and the energetic aspect is not foreign to me. The resistance is there because there is energy that needs shifting, Andrea said. “Resistance means that you need it even more,” and she’s right. I might not need Kundalini Yoga specifically to get myself back on track, but I need the connection that it brings. In those moments where I forget that I’m a soul experiencing a physical incarnation, I need to re-connect. “Whenever I teach, I’m here, I come back, I’m present,” Andrea said.
I’m glad I went back for another go at Kundalini yoga. Andrea recommends at least three sessions before making your decision about it. Resistance is often about energy that is blocked that needs releasing and on the other side of resistance is bliss, the energy shifts and you can “feel the most intense feelings of love and acceptance,” she said. The key to overcoming this resistance is through repetition of a mantra, thought pattern or habit for at least 40 days, it may take longer. Even if you didn’t like your yoga class, or your teacher, you will find the style and teacher that work best with you, just like a good hairdresser, it takes time. Embrace that resistance.
Contact Andrea at www.raisingvibrationsyoga.com.au
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015
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I went into a fantastic alternative shop in Fremantle this morning and was talking to the woman who worked there about the dizzying chaos that exists in the world that can unsettle our energy. Her advice was to surround myself with protection. And in many ways, I agree. Yes, five, ten or even fifteen years ago that would have worked for me, but it sort of seems a bit like a step backwards to Kindergarten when I’m studying for my Masters’. There is no doubt that using light, colour or imagery to “protect” yourself from other energies is a valuable skill. But if you are like me, shielding is not enough anymore. There is a new level of consciousness that we are rising to and shielding or protection assumes that we are separate beings from all other living beings.
I want connection, not disconnection. I don’t want my close my energy off to being empathetic to the suffering of the world, or someone’s sadness, or anger or joy or whatever emotion that is working for them in the moment. I don’t want to feel their feelings, but I certainly want to be able to connect to them on an energetic level. If my being strong and steady helps them to see a way out of their space, then surely shielding is not enough, surely shielding is holding the world back. If I am strong, if I am fully centred in divine love, then others can see a way to rise to me, not me to go to them and then require “protection.”
Recently, I’ve been feeling like it’s a much better practice to dig my energetic roots deep into the earth and connect with this living, breathing organism that is our planet. From there I can draw my energy from the Earth and raise it up to meet the light energy that travels downward. If you are familiar with the masculine and feminine principles, the basic premise is that the feminine is the Earth or the Goddess and the masculine is the Spirit, the God. This makes more sense to me than “protecting” myself from negative energies. To use the energy that is within and around us to strengthen our being, our own inner light, surely that is preferable?
Energy is just energy. There is no positive, no negative. We have slipped into this mindset where we deal in opposites. Even the masculine-feminine paradigm is a way of humans describing the connecting energetic pathway that joins this planet with everything that exists. Rather than putting up a wall of separation, we need to connect. The great work coming out of Perth, Western Australia from The Liberators International is a fantastic example of a group of people building connection between humans and breaking down these walls that we put up (www.theliberators.com.au).
We need shift our thinking from protection and separation to union by completely ground ourselves into ourselves, to connect to who we really are, that is a divine spark of the universe. To ask guides or angels or whatever you want to call it for “protection” what you are really saying is that you are happy for other beings to take responsibility for your energy, when, we should be ascending into higher states of consciousness by taking on this role on our own. I don’t know about you, but I’m aiming for higher states of being and that means shedding much of what I think I already know and questioning whether those beliefs still serve me.
That protection that you are asking for is within yourself, you have infinite power within you. The current energies of the planet are asking for us to step up, to move towards higher states of being and that means questioning if the belief in “shielding” or “light protection” are still serving you. Are you up for the challenge? This is my truth. I have spoken.
©Alyssa Curtayne, 2015
Last week with the “Blue Moon” it got me thinking about what we value and why. A blue moon is a second full moon that occurs in a calendar month. My newsfeed was awash with advice and recommendations about the blue moon and what we can manifest in this once-in-a-blue-moon sort of event. I have no doubt of the power of the full moon for manifesting and of the new moon for letting go. This is not about the moon’s powers. This is about the value we attach to things without asking the questions.
As in the previous blog, I’ve been questioning everything. And I mean EVERYTHING! If we look at the blue moon, it is based on the concept of months as in a calendar. Just as days of the week are human-made, so are the months. If we were to be true to the cycles of this planet, we would divide it by the moon’s cycles not calendar months, that is January, February and so on. There are thirteen moon cycles in a year based on the movement of the moon around the earth and there-in lies another human made concept: Linear Time. There are no “rare” moon events just because the calendar says so.
The fact that it is the number 2015 is a human construct designed to keep us feeling some sort of control in a linear time-space continuum. But as physicists know, time is not linear, yet, here on this planet we as a society create it so. Through the simple act of the blue moon, I have dismissed the names of days, calendar months and numerical years in my worldview. And don’t get me started on European season names that were imported to Australia when half of the country exists in a wet-dry climate cycle and things like autumn make absolutely no sense. Aboriginal seasons with their intricacies of plant growth, types of wind and rain, and when animals breed make so much more sense in such a diverse country.
Countries – they are names again! I could go on forever with these human-made constructs that we don’t ever question. I think John Lennon said it best when he said in Imagine, “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill or die for and no religion too.” But what’s been happening even more in recent years are images coming back from the International Space Station of Earth from space. In those pictures, there are no delineated lines marking what is mine or yours, or even theirs from space. From space, we share this blue planet that we call Earth. Even the boundaries of our homes, our lands, our fences separate us. Traditional societies shared spaces and lived in relative harmony. I’m not suggesting that there weren’t conflict over territory, but in general it was shared spaces and there was a mutual respect for another’s space. Until we delineated “mine” and “yours”, it was “ours”.
Even our names that we are assigned at birth, define our gender and expectations of behaviour even before we have become solid in our new bodies. We parent girls and boys differently and have different expectations on them; girls are “soft and need nurturing”, boys need to “stop crying and toughen up”. Where did these values come from and how do they define us from external pressure? Where are the parents who value the child’s soul and allow them to grow and be who they are?
In his book Seven Secrets of Time Travel: Mystic Voyages of the Energy Body, Von Braschler (Destiny Books, 2012) explores the concept of time as an illusion on the Earth plane with physical limitations. We restrict the possibilities of existence by restricting ourselves in linear time. We are caught in a cycle where time defines us, not us defining time. No longer do we follow the natural rhythms of the Earth and ourselves but we fill our lives with constant activity without ever stopping in the stillness.
Many of the great thinkers: Aristotle, Leibniz, Issac Newton, Immanuel Kant, Albert Einstein, H.P. Blavatsky and more recently Nicholas Tesla knew that this concept of time doesn’t really exist, except in our minds. We spend our lives rushing around after electronic clocks, when the concept of measured time; seconds, minutes, hours is an artificial construct and we are suffering with an enormous amount of stress-related health conditions, because we are unable to allow the natural rhythms of the Earth work with our own natural cycles and to allow the soul to unfold like a flower without pushing and pushing to do this course, or earn that money or have this skill or be more “spiritually advanced” than other people, it all seems very survival focused. Braschler says that our sensory perception; sight, sound, touch, taste, hearing, limit our Earth experience, instead we should be trusting our higher consciousness and exploring beyond the cultural and social structures. Yet, these experiences in the higher consciousness, “cannot always relate to normal frames of reference that are comfortable for our rational lower mind to process and resolve.”
This planet is ours. We all share it. When we start to separate ourselves by name, gender, days, months, countries and the ticking of a clock we do our souls a dis-service. We are creating this external construct of linear time and perceived identity, which does not exist. We all perceive what we want to see and what we have been socially conditioned to see. Immanuel Kant said that time is a tool we use to keep our thoughts orderly. So what is the key to overcome these social and cultural conditionings? I have some thoughts:
1. Firstly, question where your values come from. Is the blue moon any more powerful than a regular full moon? The answer is in the energy you put into your desire. July is an artificial measure of time that we use to track the Earth’s annual cycle around the sun. The months compartmentalise the year into manageable chunks that we arrange our lives around. Even Wednesday is “hump day” the day half way to the weekend. What sort of world are we living in where we rush through the “week” in order to get to the weekend where we can do what we really want to do, where we can actually follow our soul’s callings? What a phenomenal waste of the present moment!
2. Secondly, if you are a woman, track your menstrual cycle by the moon. Of course this will be harder if you are on synthetic contraceptives. If coming off these, you need to have all the necessary discussions. I’m not a doctor or your partner. Do your research, ask the questions. For me I know that my period comes around the new moon and I ovulate at the full moon. I always have. For other women, the cycle is reversed. Hospital staff and midwives repeatedly report that babies come in clusters around the full moon. I haven’t done the research, but I’m fairly certain men too have their own natural cycles.
3. And the final thing that I would suggest is to ground yourself deep into your body and soul and live in the moment. It’s one thing to cognitively know to be in the moment and another to be driving the kids, while listening to the radio and have your mind reel off the thousands of things that need doing. Just drive. Be present. Really listen when someone is speaking and be mindful of thinking about your responses. Just listen. Just be. Time as we have created it truly is illusory. We need to unplug ourselves from thinking we don’t have enough time, that there is a hurry, that we allow the world to define ourselves from the outside.
We need to return within and trust in our souls to guide us to where we need to be. We can control time, we can be the masters of it and not be driven by it, we just have to change our perception of what we view as true and as always, Question Everything.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015